If you’re ever feeling bored with the state of modern perfumery or exhausted by the endless onslaught of (often underwhelming) launches, I recommend that you take a few minutes out to explore the fascinating fragrant offerings from Olfactive Studio. This French-based niche house creates scents inspired by photography, specifically the images and techniques associated with the prevalent medium, and their range covers a vast number of olfactory styles, from smoky florals to strange spice creations. In short, Olfactive Studio is an exciting brand with an entirely unique viewpoint.
The studio have just launched their seventh fragrance – the Clement Gavarry-penned ‘Panorama’. Inspired by the Miguel Sandinha photograph of the legendary Sheats Goldstein house in Los Angeles, California (see below), Panorama is a green fragrance that boasts an unconventional note of wasabi. In keeping with the photograph from which it takes inspiration, Panorama contrasts urban and modern landscapes with verdant vegetation to create a fragrance that is large and expansive, with a plethora of nuances that are all intensely green. Get ready to be fascinated, folks, because this scent is one heck of a green wonder.
Top: Wasabi, Fig Leaf, Bamboo Leaf, Bergamot and Lemon
Heart: Cut Grass, Violet Leaf, Galbanum and Cardamom
Base: Myrrh, Fir Balm, Patchouli, Tonka Bean, Vanilla, Musk and Labdanum
How Does it Smell?
Before we jump in to the review I should say that the one perfume genre I have difficulty finding love for is ‘green’. I respect and admire a number of green fragrances (Nº19 et al) but rarely have I ever fallen for something verdant in scent. Panorama however, could easily change my unlucky streak with the world of green, and it’s easily the most enjoyable member of the genre I have encountered in my perfume-sniffing life. How’s that for a bit of hyperbole to get you started?
Panorama kicks off all juicy, zesty and sweet, with a hint of bitter green galbanum for good measure. It’s mouthwatering without being particularly edible. It also has a yuzu-like punch that is vibrant and neon-like, giving the impression of luminescent fruits and bright green spritzes of graffiti. Underneath this lies the sour, savoury tones of wasabi. Yes, that’s right, wasabi, and far from smelling gimmicky and stupid, the Japanese horseradish adds a warm nutty character that compliments the juicy greenery of the opening and allows a seamless transition to the smokier and more resinous nuances of the base.
Speaking of those smokier and more resinous notes, the base is full of them and its warm, and comforting. Myrrh, labdanum and vanilla seem the most prominent as the green notes fade to the background, and as Panorama takes its head out of the foliage and moves closer to the earth and foundations. Surprisingly the smokiness remains rather dry, despite the overtly dewy sense of the opening. It also avoids the usual smoky-leather cliché by opting instead for a smouldering amber that is without sugar or familiar plushness. Panorama feels like a full fragrance with a definite sense of trajectory, and at each turn it captivates, never feeling tired, boring or old.
Panorama is fascinating and it serves as proof that niche perfume is far from over and dead, showing that there are still interesting scents and concepts to be made, and fun to be had. It’s also a green fragrance unlike another, using green fruits, green leaves and green wasabi to present something that doesn’t smell conventionally vert. Panorama surprises with its full transformation from greens to brown, and contrasts between modern landscapes to the ancient beauty of nature. Panorama is further evidence that Olfactive Studio is one of the most unique and exciting niche brands out there, and if you haven’t given it, and the other OS scents a sniff yet, you’re sorely missing out.
Panorama is available in 50ml (£74) and 100ml (£108) Eau de Parfum.
Sample via Olfactive Studio. Image 1 my own. Image 2 via davidlevron.com. Notes via basenotes.net.